Annual General Assembly 2023: CoESS takes stock of the year and new EU regulations

With the European elections in June next year, the legislative period of the European Commission is slowly coming to an end. The term of office of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been characterised by a large number of legislative initiatives that will also have an impact on the security industry in the coming years. At the same time, the security industry continues to experience times of change. At its annual general meeting, CoESS looked back on its most important activities over the past year - and set the course for 2024.

The increased importance of EU legislation

Unlike other industries, the security industry has traditionally been a sector that is mainly, and for good reason, dependent on regulation at national level. And although this is still the case, the past term of office of the European Commission has shown how important EU legislation is also becoming for the security industry. 

Last year, a number of extremely important dossiers were adopted at EU level that will have an impact on the entire economy, including the security industry. CoESS has ensured that the security industry is heard during the complex negotiation processes in Brussels and that new EU legislation reflects the realities of our industry as far as possible - such as in the EU Data Act, EU AI Act, the EU CER Directive, and the EU Drone Strategy 2.0.

Labour shortages: a European problem

Another topic that has significantly shaped the activities of CoESS over the past year is the shortage of skilled labour in the security industry. Since 2021, CoESS has led the EU-funded INTEL project with the support of the European trade union UNI Europa and national members in Croatia, Germany and Sweden. Over the course of two years, the project partners analysed the extent of the current and future skills shortage in the industry and discussed possible solutions to this problem. As a result of this project, the European social partners presented a comprehensive catalogue of best practices in various EU Member States at a high-level conference in Brussels in February 2023, including initiatives by the social partners to improve regulation and procurement practices, as well as to set quality standards in training. The extensive project results and concrete recommendations for action for companies, social partners and political decision-makers can be found on the website

An outlook into 2024

These and other topics were discussed at the CoESS Annual Membership Conference on 19 and 20 October 2023 in Brussels. Representatives of the 23 national member associations of CoESS were present, as well as other representatives from companies, national authorities and the EU Commission. At the same time, the members set the course to represent our industry in Brussels in the year of the European elections and to support companies in times of technological change and skills shortages wherever possible. This includes the following initiatives:

  • Public Procurement: In the run-up to the elections, CoESS will, together with its Social Partner UNI Europa, call for a revision of the EU Public Procurement Directive as part of the European Commission upcoming work programme. 
  • Labour shortages: CoESS, together with seven national members, has applied for additional EU social partner funding as a follow-up to the completed INTEL project. In a new social partner project, CoESS and UNI Europa want to analyse in detail how we can make the security sector more attractive to young workers.
  • Artificial Intelligence: In the context of the EU AI Act, CoESS will develop a European Charter on the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence in security services under the guidance of the Remote Monitoring Committee. The charter is intended to help security companies understand the opportunities and risks associated with the use of AI in our industry, but also to ensure compliance with the new EU regulation, which is expected to apply to them in the course of 2025.

CoESS is looking forward to the coming year, in which a new European Parliament will be elected. It will not only continue to promote legal frameworks and standards that guarantee legal certainty, quality and innovation in our industry. CoESS also reaffirms its commitment to act as a partner to the EU institutions.

To support the EU in the formulation of future security policies, CoESS will continue to make valuable proposals for better regulation and the exchange of best practices through its activities in the European Commission expert groups, social dialogue and standardisation. 

PICTURE: A CoESS delegation is visiting the European Parliament in Brussels on 19 October 2023.